How to format your references using the Nature Cell Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nature Cell Biology. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Nowak, M. A. Prisoners of the dilemma. Nature 427, 491 (2004).
A journal article with 2 authors
Voss, R. & Nelemans, G. Discovery of the progenitor of the type Ia supernova 2007on. Nature 451, 802–804 (2008).
A journal article with 3 authors
Harris, R. A., Rogers, J. & Milosavljevic, A. Human-specific changes of genome structure detected by genomic triangulation. Science 316, 235–237 (2007).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Raisbeck, G. M., Yiou, F., Cattani, O. & Jouzel, J. 10Be evidence for the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal in the EPICA Dome C ice core. Nature 444, 82–84 (2006).

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Onstott, S. AutoCAD® and AutoCAD LT® Essentials. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2017).
An edited book
Towards a Service-Based Internet. ServiceWave 2010 Workshops: International Workshops, OCS, EMSOA, SMART, and EDBPM 2010, Ghent, Belgium, December 13-15, 2010, Revised Selected Papers. vol. 6569 (Springer, 2011).
A chapter in an edited book
Um-e-Ghazia, Masood, R., Shibli, M. A. & Bilal, M. Usage Control Model Specification in XACML Policy Language. in Computer Information Systems and Industrial Management: 11th IFIP TC 8 International Conference, CISIM 2012, Venice, Italy, September 26-28, 2012. Proceedings (eds. Cortesi, A., Chaki, N., Saeed, K. & Wierzchoń, S.) 68–79 (Springer, 2012).

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Nature Cell Biology.

Blog post
Andrew, E. Good Riddance To Thailand’s Infamous ‘Tiger Temple’. IFLScience (2016).


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. Federal Research: Final Site Selection Process for DOE’s Super Collider. (1989).

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
He, W. A Comprehensive Analysis of Fracture Initiation and Propagation in Sandstones based on Micro-Level Observation and Digital Imaging Correlation. (University of Louisiana, 2017).

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Baker, P. & Gordon, M. R. Kerry Becomes Chief Advocate For U.S. Attack. New York Times A1 (2013).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

This sentence cites one reference 1.
This sentence cites two references 1,2.
This sentence cites four references 1–4.

About the journal

Full journal titleNature Cell Biology
AbbreviationNat. Cell Biol.
ISSN (print)1465-7392
ISSN (online)1476-4679
ScopeCell Biology

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